Updated: Jul 17, 2021
For years I struggled with chronic Lyme disease. Anyone who has struggled with a chronic "mystery illness" understands how the illness sneaks in and takes control of everything.
Managing the illness, unravelling its symptoms, tracking its habits, and deciphering its causes become your life.
Recently, in a Lyme group in which I'm a member, a woman asked for dating advice. She'd met someone special and then freaked out when they got close. She now regretted it and wanted advice about what to do. I gave the post a sad face and scrolled by. A minute or two later I scrolled back up. That little voice was saying, "Write something to comfort her. Let her know she's not alone." Here's what I wrote: I'm so sorry to hear about your heartache and struggle with Lyme. I'll share a little about my experience. Take it or leave it. Maybe something will resonate, and maybe it won't. Either way is totally cool.
During my chronic Lyme and all its horrible coinfections, I wasn't able to date either. I got sick around 40 and it got worse and worse. I didn't want anyone to see me sick or see my medicine cabinet, but I also couldn't get out of bed on a lot of days. (I know you know.) And that sort of detracts from the "awesome girlfriend" qualities most people are looking for.
So, I sought western Lyme specialists, Chinese herbalists, homeopaths, naturalpaths, and at every appointment, the first thing I always said was, "I can't date."
That was at the forefront of my concerns. I was getting older. My hair was falling out, what was left went totally gray, my skin had a lovely greenish hue, I was sickly skinny, and I was worried I would never date again.
Finally, a friend recommended I talk to a psychic. And when I told the psychic that I was upset I couldn't date, the psychic said, "You're not supposed to date right now."
I was like, "WHOA!" I couldn't respond. That answer was not an option. Couldn't she see the clock was ticking?
Then she asked, "What is this disease here to tell you?"
I didn't know how to answer that, so I did some soul searching. I thought about how before I got sick, I dated mostly assholes. I also didn't treat my body very well. I partied, stayed up late, and didn't always draw the best boundaries for myself.
I realized that the disease came to stop me from functioning the way I had been and to teach me new ways to live when it came to eating, drinking, living, and loving.
I started to see a somatic therapist who also did talk therapy. Then I met with an amazing energy healer who made me answer the hard questions, like, "How is this disease serving you?"
At first, I felt defensive. Serving me??? I can't work, my head feels like a bowling ball, did you notice I'm green? And did I mention I CAN'T DATE???
But the more I thought about it, it was serving me. I certainly wasn't interacting with assholes anymore. I didn't drink anymore. I ate a clean diet. I stopped spending time with toxic people and my father had finally started paying attention to me.
Yeah. During a long car ride on the way to see a doctor, he apologized for yelling so much when I was growing up. That one moment provided more healing than any antibiotic or antiviral ever did.
And the more therapy I did, and the more I focused on myself, and not on what I thought I was missing out on, the better I felt. And the more I healed.
That said, no two stories are the same. And this may not resonate with you at all. But in my experience, Lyme comes to teach us something. So, maybe start there? Maybe ask, "What has Lyme come to teach me?"
I share all of this here because this story is not just about Lyme disease. It's about life's events and experiences that come to teach us. My Lyme disease has turned out to be the greatest gift of my life. It made me stop everything and shift my perspective, my actions, my beliefs, and my entire life. It sent me on a healing journey that produced self-confidence, self-love, clarity, the ability to set boundaries, and a beautiful book. It also made me realize that we're here to heal. We're here to learn. To have experiences and ask what they've come to teach us. What experience has come to teach you something? And what did you learn?